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Conservation INsight
September 28, 2022
Registration for the 2023 Annual SWCD Conference Opening Friday
"Celebrating our Conservation Community"
Join over 350 fellow conservationists gathering for the 80th Annual Conference of Indiana Soil & Water Conservation Districts. Choose four breakout sessions from 12 topics and speakers. Engage in the popular Exhibitor Trade Show. Celebrate, learn, reconnect and be inspired by the conservation happening throughout the Hoosier state.

January 9-10, 2023
(with a few Sunday afternoon and evening activities on January 8)
The Westin
in downtown Indianapolis

Conference registration link goes live on Friday, September 30. Early bird rates good through November 16.

Discounted hotel reservations can be made now.
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IASWCD October 5 Lunch 'n Learn:
USDA Resources for Working with Beginning Farmers
Join USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service outreach coordinator, Will Fett, as he presents on programs and opportunities for beginning farmers from NRCS, FSA, RMA, and RD. Walk away with a better idea of how to work with and direct beginning farmers you work with to the resources they need.

October 5 at 12 noon (EDT)
Register to receive the Zoom link.
Session will be recorded, but we encourage you to join live for Q&A.
Special THANKS to these 83 Indiana SWCDs
who have paid annual dues to IASWCD (as of 9-26-22)
St Joseph
Urban Soil Health Program News
Nurturing City Soils for Healthy Organic Vegetables Webinar Series
Join eOrganic in Fall 2022 for a webinar series: Nurturing City Soils for Healthy Organic Vegetables! Urban farming can bring lots of benefits, but soils in cities can be degraded and, in some cases, contaminated. This can make vegetable crops more susceptible to pests and put farmers and consumers at risk. During this webinar series, participants will learn how to determine if their soils are contaminated and what they can do to minimize risks while producing healthy and nutritious organic vegetable crops.
NACD Awarded Climate Smart Commodities Program Funding
WASHINGTON, DC (September 14, 2022) – The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) is pleased with today’s announcement by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack of the association’s selection as a partner in USDA’s $2.8 billion Climate Smart Commodities program. NACD, through its national partnership, project partners and network of 3,000 conservation districts, will advance grassroots efforts that ensure producers and local communities are prepared to meet growing demand and have access to climate-smart commodity markets. The goal is to leave no producer behind.
Registration Now Open for The National Association of Conservation Districts' (NACD) 77th Annual Meeting
Hosted in partnership with the Louisiana Association of Conservation Districts, the 2023 Annual Meeting will take place in New Orleans, Louisiana from February 11-15 at the New Orleans Marriott. Early bird registration for the discounted price of $575 will be open through December 23, 2022.
USDA Opens People’s Garden Initiative to Gardens Nationwide
Indianapolis, IN, September 16, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is expanding its People’s Garden Initiative to include additional eligible gardens nationwide. School gardens, community gardens, urban farms, and small-scale agriculture projects in rural, suburban and urban areas can be recognized as a “People’s Garden” if they register on the USDA website and meet the criteria including benefitting the community, working collaboratively, incorporating conservation practices and educating the public.
Deadline Extended: Apply Now for Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative Cooperative Agreements
USDA has extended the application deadline for Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative Cooperative Agreements from Sept. 22 to Oct. 6, 2022. USDA is investing up to $12 million in partnerships that expand access to conservation technical assistance for livestock producers and increase the use of conservation practices on grazing lands.  
New Guide Available for Underserved Farmers, Ranchers
A new multi-agency guide for USDA assistance for underserved farmers and ranchers is now available.
National FFA Volunteer Opportunity
The FFA National Convention and Expo will be returning to Indianapolis this year and will run from October 26-28. As in years past, NRCS will be supporting the Natural Resources and Environment Judging event and we are asking for volunteer assistance from partnership staff. This event will take place on Thursday, October 27 from 11AM-2PM at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Judges are separated into two categories:
  • Verbal Judging: Students will be provided a scenario that addresses an environmental/natural resource problem from soils, water, ecosystems and waste management. Teams are required to develop a statement that addresses the questions in the scenario and give an oral presentation justifying the decisions made by the team. Each team will have eight minutes to make their presentation. There will be an additional five minutes given to each team to address questions from the judges. 
  • Teamwork Judging: While the students are preparing their oral presentations, a group of judges will evaluate how well the team members work together to develop their statement and presentation. If you would like to volunteer for one of these events, please contact Kris Vance at: kris.vance@usda.gov 
Indiana NRCS Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month and the Importance of Inclusivity
Indianapolis, IN, Sept. 23, 2022– Thursday, Sept. 15, marked the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month. Celebrated annually from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to honor the cultures, histories and contributions of Hispanics and Latino Americans to America.
The observance started as a week-long celebration in 1968 to coincide with the independence days of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua on Sept. 15, Mexico on Sept. 16 and Chile on Sept. 18. It was expanded to a month-long celebration of Hispanic and Latin American history and culture starting in 1989.
The theme for this year’s heritage month celebration, as chosen by the National Council of Hispanic Employment Program Managers, is “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation.” The theme was chosen to celebrate the diverse cultures, languages and experiences in the Hispanic and Latino communities in America.
Purdue Extension News
Connecting with Amish
and Other Plain Communities
A Conference for Extension and related agency professionals
November 1-3, 2022
Blue Gate Garden Inn, Shipshewana, IN
A.W.E. – Agriculture Women Engage Conference Planning Committee Accepting Proposals
Formally known as the Midwest Women in Agriculture Conference, AWE conference invites you to submit a conference proposal to present in person at the 2023 Conference to be held at the Terre Haute Convention Center in Terre Haute, IN. The mission of the A.W.E. conference is to meet the needs of women in agriculture by addressing the personal, family, and farm issues that affect their lives, their families, and their farm business. The conference is Feb 22-23, 2023.
Save the Date
Heart of America Grazing Conference
Ferdinand, Indiana
February 20-21, 2023
Indiana Watershed Leadership Program:
Learn to be a Leader in Conservation and Watershed Management
Sign up now to improve your engagement and management skills! If you are interested in water quality, soil health, education, outreach, conservation and/or watersheds, consider applying for the 2023 Indiana Watershed Leadership Academy. The 17th Annual Academy will include both virtual and in-person workshops to learn watershed and leadership skills. This format will include in two in person, two-day sessions January 4-5 and March 29- 30 followed by a one-day graduation session on May 24, 2023. Additionally, six virtual one-hour sessions will occur from January to May 2023 allow you to take advantage of Indiana’s watershed experts from the comfort of your home or office. Enrollment deadline: Nov 4
Young Ladies in Ag Forum
Who: Young Ladies in Grades 8-12 & College
When: February 22, 2023
Where: Terre Haute Convention Center during the Ag Women Engage Conference.
Check-in: 1:00-1:30 PM EST
Program: 1:30-8:30 PM EST
Dinner included
  • Financial Strategies for Young Women
  • Networking and Exploring Jobs in the Agriculture World
  • Marketing Yourself
  • Building a Strong Resume
The Design for Soil Health Information (DASHI) Project
Seeking to understand information challenges faced by US-based growers as they practice regenerative agriculture and seek to improve soil health quality on the land they steward. This includes learning more about how growers and farm workers collect, manage, and use soil health and agricultural data and use digital technologies in agricultural management.
Other News
Hugh Hammond Bennett Award Nomination Deadline Approaches
The National Conservation Planning Partnership (NCPP) is still accepting nominations for the 2022 Hugh Hammond Bennett Award for Conservation Excellence!
NCPP created the award in 2017 to honor the legacy of Hugh Hammond Bennett by recognizing producers and conservation planners from within the NCPP partnership who have exemplified outstanding service through development and implementation of sound conservation planning and other conservation techniques. Nominations must be submitted by October 1, 2022.
In this episode of An Ear Full, One Good Idea visits the Maguire Family Farm where Mike Maguire shares his drone
and the benefits it has provided.
SARE’s Newest Bulletin: Reaching Women in Agriculture
Reaching Women in Agriculture: A Guide to Virtual Engagement, outlines a range of strategies and tools to help educators who have prior experience conducting in-person educational activities adapt their programming for online and hybrid spaces.
Reaching Women in Agriculture features a number of effective strategies for planning, hosting and evaluating online events.
Leadership for Midwestern Watersheds Gathering
Sand County Foundation is pleased to announce our latest Leadership for Midwestern Watersheds gathering, presented for the first time in Indiana! We hope you can join us November 3-4 in Fort Wayne.
Since 2011 we have gathered leaders and supporters of agricultural water quality improvement efforts in the Midwest to learn and connect on a range of themes to advance watershed project success.
This year’s event will focus on effective watershed partnerships, with presentations by project leaders, farmers, and researchers, plus facilitated discussions and ample time for networking.
Algal Bloom Action Team Webinar Series
Join the Algal Bloom Action Team Wednesday, October 5th as they host three great harmful algal bloom (HAB) researchers. Corey Markfort, Ph.D. and Greg LeFevre, Ph.D. will discuss the exploration of complex harmful algal bloom mixtures and mid-range remote sensing in Iowa lakes. Then Jennifer Graham, Ph.D. will discuss the structured decision-making research around cyanoHABs management in New York state parks.
Prepare to Write a 2023 Youth Educator Grant Proposal
The 2023 North Central Region - Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE) Youth Educator Grant Call for Proposals is now open
Prepare to Write Your Proposal
Join NCR-SARE for a Youth Educator proposal application online meeting on September 28, 2022, at 4pm CDT. NCR-SARE's Youth Educator Grant Program coordinator, Joan Benjamin, will review the process for applying, share tips for writing a good proposal, and answer your questions. Register for the zoom online at:  https://umn.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0sdeGsrjIrHNzWClomMb7cBAF_pmwKnSEI

NCR-SARE intends to record the meeting and post it online here.
Life Hacks over Lunch: A Meet-up Series for Watershed Professionals
This free, virtual meet-up series is a peer-learning opportunity for watershed professionals to share ideas and advice for solving real-life challenges of watershed projects. If you work with farmers and communities on watershed-scale projects to improve water quality and have ever found yourself thinking, “I don’t want to recreate the wheel,” this meet-up series is for you.
In each meet-up, one person kicks things off by presenting a challenge or issue to the group to “hack.” Conversation, collaboration, and commiseration will ensue. Registration is required.
Details for the Fall 2022 Series
  • When: The 3rd Friday of the month from September through December – that’s October 21st, November 18th, and December 16th.
  • Time: 11:30am CT / 12:30pm ET. The meet-ups last 45-60 minutes.
  • Place: Zoom 
Last Chance to Apply for a Native Seed Grant
Apply for a native wildflower seed grant. Submit your applications by October 1st, 2022. We're thrilled to share that Pollinator Partnership, in collaboration with Toyota Motor North America, is once again offering a native wildflower seed grant program. 
Job Postings :
Current list of Conservation Job Opportunities now posted on the IASWCD website.
Note: Job Postings can be submitted to Amy Work at: amy-work@iaswcd.org . Please include job description and deadline to apply in a single PDF file or with a link.
Upcoming Conservation Events:*
Sept 29 - Beginner's Guide to Grant Writing, Lake Co
Oct 1-2 - Wetland Restoration Workshop, Ball State
Oct 5 - IASWCD Lunch 'n Learn
Oct 20 - New Discussion Leader Training, W4L
Oct 21 - Beginner's Guide to Grant Writing, LaPorte Co
Oct 29 - Beginner's Guide to Grant Writing, Clark Co
Nov 4 - Conservation Tillage Meeting, Dearborn Co

*This is just a brief list of some of the events IASWCD is aware of happening throughout the state. IASWCD Conservation Events Calendar can be viewed here. As events sometimes have to pivot from in-person to virtual, we encourage you to please check the individual hosting organization's website and/or Facebook page for the latest information on locations, guidelines and details.